Tip 1 – Change your schedule
When the spring and summer months roll around, we generally feel more inspired to get outside and exercise as the weather is brighter and warmer. Unfortunately, though, it is right about this time that pollen levels rise and this can jeopardise our plans to get more active.
To avoid getting hayfever symptoms during your workout, try not to exercise first thing in the morning or in the early evening, as this is when pollen levels are generally at their highest. If possible, try to exercise at lunch time or later on in the evening when pollen levels fall.
Changing your schedule in this way may seem a bit annoying and inconvenient but it can make all the difference to the severity of your hayfever symptoms, so it is really worthwhile.
Tip 2 – Plan your route
If you aren’t able to reschedule your workout, just try to avoid areas where pollen counts are higher. This includes grassy spots like parks, as well as woodland paths, gardens and fields - it is important to plan your route in advance so that you don’t get caught out.
In addition to this preparation, our pollen forecast page will give you an overview of the pollen count in the UK, as well as in your local area. This will help you avoid pollen hotspots during any outdoor workouts.
Tip 3 - Exercise indoors
If pollen levels are really high, it’s a good idea to stick to indoor exercise. Although some people will be happy to visit the gym in this instance, treadmills and weights aren’t for everyone. As an alternative, though, you could try swimming, indoor tennis or an exercise class.
For more ideas on how to exercise without going to the gym, you can read our blog on the topic!
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4. Try Luffa
The herb Luffa has traditionally been used to combat hayfever symptoms including sneezing, itchy eyes and a blocked nose. It is quick-acting and comes without the drowsy side effects associated with some hayfever medications. This means it won’t negatively impact your workout.
If nasal symptoms are more troublesome for you, though, you could stock up on Pollinosan Luffa Nasal Spray. This works by rinsing and cleansing the nose of pollen and other allergens.
5. Wear sunglasses
If you enjoy activities like running or walking then wraparound sunglasses can be beneficial. These will help to reduce the amount of pollen getting into your eyes and, as a result, itching, watering and redness should become less problematic.
If you require further assistance in dealing with symptoms around the eyes then I’d recommend using some of our Extra Moisturising Eye Drops. These help to ease irritation by soothing and lubricating the eye. Our eye drops also have the benefit that they can be used by contact lens users and those with sensitive eyes.
6. Use a barrier balm
Spreading a little barrier balm around the edge of each nostril and the eye area will help to trap and block pollen. This should prevent the likes of a runny nose or watery eyes from developing during a workout.
Coconut oil works well as a natural barrier balm, as does our very own Bioforce Cream. Remember to reapply it if you rub or wipe the eye/nose area, though, or else it won’t work so effectively.
7. Look at your diet
A smoothie packed with fruit and vegetables will make an excellent pre or post-workout snack, particularly if it contains the likes of strawberries, kiwis, oranges, leafy greens and tomatoes which are all rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C boosts the health of the immune system and acts as a natural antihistamine. This means it could actually help to ease your hayfever symptoms.
For a range of smoothie recipes, just take a look at our food hub.
As well as this, it is a good idea to reduce your intake of dairy products during the hayfever season as these can encourage the production of mucus and, in turn, make congestion and a runny nose worse. Fortunately, there are plenty of dairy-free milks to choose from including almond and coconut milk.
8. Remember, pollen sticks!
Despite taking the precautions listed above, pollen can still collect on clothing when you’re out and about. Therefore, when you return home after your workout, get undressed in the bathroom rather than the bedroom to prevent pollen from being distributed in the area where you sleep. Pollen in the bedroom is likely to cause symptoms that will wake you up at night.
It can also be helpful to shower after exercising, particularly if you’ve done an outdoor activity. This will wash away any pollen that may have collected in your hair and on your body.
As well as this, after you’ve washed your sports gear, be sure to dry it indoors rather than in the garden. Damp clothes collect pollen and so, should you use the washing line, this would make for an uncomfortable workout next time round.
9. Avoid alcohol the night before a workout
Alcohol can be problematic for hayfever sufferers as it is inflammatory and contains histamine. This is the chemical released by the body when it comes into contact with pollen and it can cause symptoms such as inflammation and a blocked nose.
Plain water is the best drink when you’re working out and experiencing hayfever symptoms. Not only does this keep us hydrated at a time when we will be losing fluids, it can also help with issues including a sore throat as it rinses the area of allergens.
10 – Visit our Get Active Hub!
Now that you’ve got all these tips on how to exercise during the hayfever season, you may find it helpful to look at our Get Active Hub. With a range of exercising tips, there is a lot of further information to benefit from here!
Originally published on 12 August 2015 (updated on 15 May 2019)